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Can younger drivers be trained to scan for information that will reduce their risk in roadway traffic scenarios that are hard to identify as hazardous?

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Younger drivers (18-21 years) are over-involved in crashes. Research suggests that one of the reasons for this over-involvement is their failure to scan areas of the roadway for information about potential risks in situations that are hazardous, but not obviously so. The primary objective of the present study is to develop and evaluate a training program that addresses this failure. It was hypothesised that PC-based hazard anticipation training would increase the likelihood that younger drivers would scan for potential hazards on the open road. In order to test this hypothesis, 12 trained and 12 untrained drivers' eye movements were measured as they drove a vehicle on local residential, feeder and arterial roads. Overall, the trained drivers were significantly more likely to gaze at areas of the roadway that contained information relevant to the reduction of risks (64.4%) than were the untrained drivers (37.4%). Significant training effects were observed even in situations on the road that were quite different from those shown in training. These findings have clear implications for the type of training of teen drivers that is necessary in order to increase their anticipation of hazards.
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Keywords: driver training; driving simulators; eye movements; hazard anticipation; younger drivers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA 3: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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